This is going to be the first in a series of posts about long term business development for affiliates. One of my biggest regrets of 2009 was that I spent 8 months working for myself and didn’t come close to developing the number of fixed assets that I should have done. Too much of my energy was spent playing with fire on campaigns that were raking in the money one minute and draining my wallet the next. This year is different. I’m not thinking “how can I make more money than I know how to spend?” I’m thinking long term stability.
Yeah, if you’re wondering, I’m wearing slippers and smoking a pipe while I write this. Next stop: feeble retirement. But it reflects how I feel about the business right now. I’m not interested in banking astronomical profits just so that I can go on WickedFire and be a dick posting about it (like the majority of members over there, sorry but you’re lame). Money isn’t my incentive this year. I worked my arse off through 2009, made a lot of cash, and you know what happened? I never got chance to enjoy any of it. I want to live in comfort, not chained to my dedicated server incase a small wind knocks it offline and motherfucks my media buy.
2010 is going to be all about working smart.
It’s interesting how when I broke in to affiliate marketing, the niche that set me on the road to riches was the Google bizopp. And yet one year on, the goalposts have shifted so far that I’ve returned to where I started in terms of how I value my work.
When I quit my day job, it was in disbelief that so much money could be made through such a simple process. Set up a landing page, plug in some keywords, and line your pockets with money. I’d lost interest in the kinda “small fish” web projects that I’d spent my previous career undertaking. Instead of developing long term assets that would stand the test of time, I was happy to tear through more .info domains than you could fit in your economy shared hosting plan.
One year on, I’ve grown tired of living on the volatile edge. I gave up rebills a long time ago. But even now, I’m still shifting my campaigns to more long term geared strategies.
You should know how it is. A part time affiliate marketer can afford to tap in to whatever’s hot or converting at the time. Those of us doing this shit as a full time career need to move forward with slightly broader mindsets. To live comfortably, we need to develop long term assets. Or face the hair receeding bitch that comes with the pressure of producing profitable CPA campaigns week on end. I’m not joking. If I had to live 2009 several times over, I’d be bald by the time of London Olympics. There’s times where I feel myself physically molting at my desk.
When I look at the affiliate marketing landscape in 2010, I see a lot of opportunity. But I also see a lot of challenges on the horizon. Especially for those who deal in short term crash and burn arbritage and nothing else. Not to say the ballers are going to fall by the wayside, because they won’t. But the time is now to build some long term assets. Something that an Adwords slap or an offer outage can’t touch.
What are your options? Well, that’s what I’m going to bring myself to type shit about over the next few posts. But to give a basic overview:
Developing an email list: You’ve heard it over and over again. But have you actually bothered to take action? Building an email list is one of the single most effective methods of adding value to the traffic that you’re purchasing. Instead of popping a lead once, why not keep the prospect and hit them with several offers over time? Most affiliates shy away from this route because it involves sacrificing some of the immediate ROI. I’m aware of this so I’m going to outline a method of building an email list and scaling it to thousands of opt-ins without spending a single penny. It’s surprisingly easy.
Building an authority site: If you spend forever digesting the clusterfuck of information on how to get your site ranked using SEO – well, good for you. I personally hate SEO with a passion. The only time I get any kind of thrill out of SEO is when my ninja optimization skills take me to the top of the SERP for terms such as:
…and various finch birdspotting phrases.
This blog receives a lowly 3% of it’s traffic from the search engines. I don’t like spending any more time than I need to optimizing for Google when The Big G could flick a switch and erase me from the search engines completely. So, I take that attitude in to every affiliate site that I develop. Yes, it’s nice to reap free traffic. But the intention should always be to establish an authority, an identity.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not impossible to blend in to a niche as an “expert talker” while pushing your own sordid commission driven agenda. Just look at John Chow. I believe a good brand is worth a lot more than a first page search ranking. But to migrate in to new niches and build long term assets, you’ve got to know your market and know your audience. It’s why I portray myself as such a cynical bastard on here.
Be first on the scene. I can’t remember where I heard it, but it’s definitely true. You don’t always have to be the best, or the funniest, or the cleverest with your marketing message. Sometimes, just being the first can be the only competitive advantage you need.
I guess I’ve learned from my year in affiliate marketing – having originally made money by recycling campaigns that were everywhere – the innovators will always find a way to get paid. If you can seize opportunity and be the first to jump on an offer or a new demand, you will make money. It’s as simple as that.
The main difference between my mindset now to how it was when I started is that I’m not looking for a fleeting campaign in today’s hottest niche. I’m looking for a long term investment in tomorrow’s new craze. I believe that’s what separates entrepreneurs on the web from those who are always chasing the seeds of what successful affiliates have already built.